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Mike Lofgren Education. (2012) 'The Party Is Over How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted.' New.

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  CSPAN    Book TV    Mike Lofgren  Education.  (2012) 'The Party Is Over How  
   Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the...  

    September 30, 2012
    5:00 - 6:00pm EDT  

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pacify the country, it is a bit of an issue. >> host: when were you in fro afghanistan in early 2009? all e >> guest: i made 13 tripsd me through this year. many of them several weeks at a time. i found it all over the country, and i emphasize my time in the south. i've spent a lot of times traveling by helicopter and b pickup truck and really trying to get that deal done.
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>> fortunately, i am blessed. with dark skin and this beard. >> host: did it make at difference?ficu >> guest: it allowed me to blenf kandah in. >> host: here is his most recent book, rajiv chandasekaran, "little america: the war within the war for afghanistan." thank you, sir. ..
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captured by wall street and corporate money. both parties are owned by corporate money. the democrats rather shamefacedly or critically. that said, both parties are not equal responsibility for our system. they at least take a stab at governing, even if results are mediocre at best. the republicans by contrast what confrontation never compromise, issues rather than build and gridlock over functioning government. their behavior caused standard & poor's to downgrade the nations
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credit rating last year and that caused me to write a book as a warning. this is enacted legislation 87 times doing the debt limit after world war ii, but last year it was different. republicans wanted to hold arbor day adtran credit rating hostage to the government accountability office found later that just the transaction cost for the gop's little stunned cost the taxpayers, due, at least $1.3 billion. my warning is that you cannot repeat, cannot delegate governance of the world's largest economic and military power to a cultlike political party that thinks up on the spur certificate, muslim subversion of the government and death panels are serious issues. of course by no means all republicans are like that, but
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increasing numbers are becoming unhinged. there are three main d.c.'s about the gop in my book. the first is that the gop worships wealth of the wealthy and subordinate every other domestic economic issue to that fact. while they try to make the deficit and debt reduction their signature issue is a former house and senate budget committee staffer, i believe that is safe only plan. they will be subordinate deficit reduction to giving tax breaks to the wealthy contributors. and that romney's current tax plan is a case in point. it would increase the deficit by $6 trillion over 10 years. ask yourself now, which loophole is he going to cause to make up the difference? he doesn't say and there aren't enough loopholes to do that in any case.
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most middle-class people like you do not consider the mortgage interest deduction to be a loophole. unlike the deductibility. and in the recent past, congressional republicans have refused to repeal that even the egregious tax loophole a corporate jet to the deficit claims are essentially fraudulent. it's simply bait for the rooms. and yes, they consider all of you to be potential. chapter five of the book describes republican tax policy as follows, quote, although you won't find it in their party platform, the gop's mission is to protect and further enrich america's plutocracy. the parties caterwauling about deficits and debt is so much eyewash to bind the public. in reality, republicans act as bellhops for corporate america
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and the super rich behind those corporations. in the calculus of washington politics is part to spread the gop, wealthy individuals and corporations are interchangeable. mitt romney may have said more than he knew when he pleaded that corporations are people. they are indeed people come a very select group of people in executive suites entre nous suites and boardrooms to draw disproportionate share of the benefits from the tax code, a tax could the gop has manipulated relentlessly to produce exactly that outcome. as for the rest of us, republicans have been strangely indifferent. some gop presidential candidates have even offered proposals that would increase taxes on people of modest means spirit one might think republicans would be enthusiastic about extending the tax cut agenda to low income
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earners paying reverse repo payroll taxes. these folks who struggle from paycheck to paycheck just to keep their heads above water would benefit the most from tax relief. at the gop has been uncharacteristically hesitant when it comes to tax-cut for the ordinary americans they claim to represent. and all this is because of republicans iron resolution to protect our society overclass at all costs. that is the end of that passage. now my next major thesis about the gop is what i call their war worship. the gop veritably worships the altar of mars. how many americans now, and for that matter has the media ever bothered to inform them that the great deficit hawk plans to add as much as 2 trillion then into
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the pentagon budget of the next 10 years. i didn't think that was common knowledge. the media remain all above about chick-fil-a, the cultural signifier rather than reporting on what a candidate for president pledges to do with trillion of your money. now many people attribute this for all things military to a quick provost. the dod contract or is provide money for constituents. there's something to that, but it doesn't tell the whole story. here is a chapter six concludes. quote, take away the cash in excess and there remains a strong psychological predisposition towards war and militarism and a large part of the gop. they stick greatly exacerbated in the immediate aftermath of september 11, and alarmingly persistent sense undoubtedly arises from a neurotic need to demonstrate toughness.
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it dovetails perfectly with the belligerent tough guy aspect one constantly hear some right wing talk radio. militarism springs from a psychological deficit that requires an endless series of enemies, both foreign and domestic to borrow author chris hedges formulation, war is a force that gives them meaning. that's the end of that passage. i conclude that a country with a 15 shilling dollars stud, failing infrastructure and very mediocre world rankings in terms of life expectancy, social mobility and poverty simply cannot afford extravagance of reckless interventionism and a loss for an illusory world dominance. the third factor that i believe this made the present-day gop is the culture war and its basis in politicized religion. as i described in chapter seven,
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of religious cranks ceased to be a minor public nuisance in this country, beginning in the 1970s and grew into a major element of the republican rank-and-file. pat robinson's strong showing in the 1988 iowa presidential caucuses signal the gradual merger of politics and religion in the party. unfortunately, at that time i underestimated the implications of what i was seeing. it did strike me as oddly humorous that a fundamentalist staff member in a congressional office was going to take time off to convert the heathen increase, a country overwhelmingly christian for almost 2000 years. i recall another point in the early 1990s when a different fundamentalist gop staffer said that dinosaur fossils were a
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hoax. as the mayor of legislative mechanic toiling away what i hope to be a similar president ecclesiastical calling, i did not get cd ideological impulses far different from mine were poised to capture the party of lincoln. if the american people polled more like iranians or nigerians and europeans are canadians on questions of evolution, scriptural inerrancy, the presence of angels and demons and so forth, it is due to the rise of the religious right, its insertion into the public sphere by the republican party and the consequent normalizing and former reactionary beliefs. all around us now is a prevailing anti-intellectualism and hostility science, politicized religion is the sheet anchor of the tree or a
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40-year-old culture wars and that's the end of that passage. i hope the listener does not construe this as a condemnation of religion. it is rather a condemnation of the merger of politics and religion that we've been seeing occurring over the last 30 years, a phenomenon that debases both politics and religion. as i conclude the tab turner, the united states has been fortunate to have a weighted sum of the worst aspect of europe's history. it had something to do with it, but so did the system of governments that permitted and encouraged religious pluralism, what america did not tubeless mandate a religious test for the office or basis for our domestic detentions as freedom of the bible.
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the party is attempting to do michelle long recredit. not so much for the republican party. what about the democrats? as i described them in the introduction, the democratic party hosted far too long on franklin d. roosevelt's legacy became complacent and began to feel entitled to its near hegemonic position in culture and the media. when the new began to displace an all three of those arenas, some liberals merely turned into antisexual whiners and crybabies or ivory tower escaped us. the bulk of the democratic politicians and operatives however moved in a different direction. after three straight losses in presidential elections between 19901998, they been in the
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practices of their old beliefs while continuing to espouse them in theory. these new democrats will say anything an objective that an immense commensurately requires them requires them to emulate republicans, particularly with respect to money grabbing on the fund-raising circuit. many of them left only a term or two because if people want a republican, they will vote for the real thing. what is developed in america over the last three decades is a 1.5 party system as democrats opportunistically cleave to the center, which in a relativistic universe of american politics keeps moving further to the right, and the quote. well, so far so bad. i relisted painted a rather dim canvas of what now comes to choose the political system of lincoln's last best hope for
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mankind. i do have some potential solutions because as you have no doubt heard, it is in my nature to be bloodlessly up be. [laughter] the solutions are also in the book. there rather than by continuing to talk, how about some questions at this point? [applause] >> first of all, i'd like to commend you on i can understand understand -- i will buy the book just to support you. i agree with everything you said. so the only problem is i'm a liberal democrat and i was born in 1947. i've watched a country completely changed. it doesn't sound anything like
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the country i grew up in the 50s and 60s. as a democrat, my question is, what should we do? would we do better to go back to real democratic principles by supporting a middle-class, preserving and strength and in social security, strengthening medicare? or will that just simply marginalizes further? >> it would be nice to have a real contrast between the parties. however, i think there are anti-seaton problems such as the avalanche of money in politics, which impels those parties to be money grabbers, to spend coming in now, anywhere from 40% of their time in congress to dialing for dollars and going to fundraisers. and every time a politician is either be elected or retires, he
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says, i hate the money chase. they all hate it, that they are trapped in the system. >> so what should we do? >> get the money out of politics. and it would also help if we had something other than this crazy system we have in this country, unlike most modern democracies, where you get state legislatures drawing the district lines in congress. all it does is create safe democrat and safe republican districts. it furthers the polarization of the country. >> so the next question. i would like to know where fna plays in the pantheon of republican transactions comes
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very despising, their demonization of government. government can't do anything. government is bad, bureaucrats, et cetera, et cetera. >> i find it amazing that people who keep getting elected to public office and around the public payroll, relentlessly their whole process by which they are paid and under which they operate. when i know people who worked in congress as members of staff for 20 years, there's never been on any payroll except the public payroll and always talking about this lazy no good bureaucrats come in outcome and the ones who inspect your airliner to see if it's safe or in fact your medicine to see if it's safe or inspect food or do any number things that are very important. so obviously there's waste, fraud and abuse in the
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government. we've seen the gsa scandal. that does not million misrule don't want to do a good job in some measure very important. most people like to go to dell maintain national parks. that doesn't come free. >> well-planned, is it anybody's responsibility, the media, democrats to point out from -- all of these functions that are so essential and dan pretty darn well? >> well, i think it is the public's responsibility to get on its hind legs and say whether they want these services are not and perhaps the media could be a little more responsible than playing the false equivalence
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game. is the world round or flat? you be the judge. the controversy continues. [laughter] >> stair, yes, for a number of years i have watched that fascination of policymakers at both parties have championed the concept of privatization and outsourcing function that used to be considered inherently governmental. the rise of private contractors and a number of rounds ranging from private prisons, education to more recently military and security issues has been put outward with much rhetoric, but not a lot of evidence in terms of cost effect it has, for example. my question is simply, how much reflects a blind faith in the precepts of the marketplace and adam smith and how much is
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attached to corporations that will benefit them in the future? i've written a book on the subject with respect to military contractors with little purple evidence. >> i see the correlation is inverted. it is more expensive and you get less out of it. we have seen how well halliburton dead when they took over the logistics of the army. the army cannot feed itself anymore, which is kind of ridiculous. look at other scandals in iraq can you see these across the board. national security badges is what i did and at some point it struck me as overwhelming that these things were not working as the vonage had claimed they would work. and there are some things that not only because of cost effect
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of mass i don't want some contract to looking at sensitive surveillance intelligence. i don't want some contractor choosing who is going to get hit by a drone. >> hi, i am a holocaust survivor and a civil rights veteran. and what i see happening in this country as they move towards fascism, which very much resembles that of our germany, which silenced pretty much the labor movement, which restrict to voter participation in the media as well. we no longer have the media that takes on the lives that are being spread and that we are being fed on a daily basis.
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there are very few outlets we can actually read or hear the truth of what is happening in our government. and my fear is that we are going down a really steep and quick ascent into fascism and i think that is very worrisome. and i am a fighter and i have no idea anymore how this can be stopped because i don't see that there is a movement. he says even when it's hopeless, we have to continue to battle, but there doesn't seem to be a cohesive movement like there was in the 60s. do you have any suggestions about how we can go about this
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or that she would even agree with the aspect of where we are headed. >> if there is enough people who believe that, then at cnn difference indifference really isn't an option. and the system corrects itself when enough people decide to become active. that's the path we have been amusing ourselves to death in various ways in the last 20 or 30 years and are voter participation rates and not because of voter suppression, simply because a lot of people just don't turn out to vote. it is one of the lowest in the industrialized world and that is not a sign of a healthy democracy. and it didn't happen that way
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because of some grand scheme, the public for cultural reasons or whatever became apathetic. >> i agree with that. what is happening now and in many states that are targeting groups or hispanics, african-americans, the poor, elderly students where it is so hated and and disturbing that i am surprised that there is not a bigger outcry. i really am. and i don't know whether people can be so apathetic that they are not scared, that they are not scared for the future of their children, their grandchildren and future of the country. >> i wrote the book because i was a concerned citizen. >> thank you.
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>> my name is angela. i've addressed that the media that had me make one to three bullets before you have a chance. first, the media from endorphin support immersive aggression which is a crime, the media ought to be glad. they like you report things, not the way they are from the coverage of the olympics, coverage of what happened in syria@doll that a part of me. so my question is, in the media are the new at the people to keep everybody in sync and asleep in believing what they said. how are we going to be able to value those who want to change things around if everybody's been put to sleep at the media?
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>> perhaps the upside is that over the last many years, the viewership of the big media has constantly trended down and there are things like the internet, which has the tone oddities and dangerous, but i think a lot of people are more interested in independent viewpoints and a lot of that decline in viewership of the major media is because people don't think it's particularly useful to them. >> so i'm not old enough to vote yet so i don't have my political opinions yet. it seems like in my generations have been i've learned is yet to take everything you see with a grain of salt because there's a lot of misleading articles, people, teachers even.
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i mean, we live in a throwaway society. a lot of politics also affects our food. there was a documentary i saw called sudan, which is very interest team. i also wanted to ask you what your thoughts were on private equity in the 80s and how that led to our financial collapse today. >> i think the term were used in those days was leverage buyout. >> private equity became a euphemism. >> they changed it so some people would recognize it. >> precisely. to the extent that a company can borrow money and write off the interest costs to take over the viable business, read its pension fund, strip the asset, select the pieces and give themselves a pay day, that is not a good thing in my view.
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countries like germany that have a strong industrial base. the government would step in and not allow that. >> also i feel another thing -- a lot of politicians have also said this. not all of them, but found that i have heard speak because politics has changed the law in the last even 30 years, where now the media and people who are running everything is so polarized and i feel like another kind of that divide also created is a lot of people like if you're into business, you're dramatically like a republican or something like that. or if you are not into business, then you're just completely to the other side. i feel that you shouldn't have to be like that. if you want to start your own
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business, you can be a democrat, whatever. there's just a lot of unneeded social pressure in that aspect. >> god bless the american businessman. i am for the henry ford who at their own money built up a producing company and by the way doubled the pay of the workers because it occurred to him, hey, maybe it's my own workers can afford to buy the product they make, i will make my products. a lot of people laugh over engine charlie wilson who is the secretary of defense under eisenhower. they always mangled the quote. they say what is good for general motors is good for america. now, he said what is good for america is good for general motors and vice versa. what he said is the fate of the company and the fate of the country were inextricably
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linked, when one does well, the other day as well, not smash and grab. >> another question is another thing that really annoys me is every time i buy something it says made in china. so i hate seeing that and that is why that's something that i just have a very strong feeling about making it products. this whole thing was becoming dependent upon china is really a problem. and the other problem is because of the way a lot of businesses operate come you can't compete with china and it's very expensive to produce domestic products in the united states. there's not that many companies who do that. there are small businesses. and you know, a lot of people in the news say we can just cut off -- we could say no to china whenever we want and just come
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back to america. i don't think that's true. i think they have like a vice grip on this right now. i don't know how as i get older if there's ever going to be away cut off from them and start making our own things again because that will only stimulate our economy. >> well, i think we have a modern version of mutual assured destruction like we had with soviet union. if one side or the other does something abrupt, it brings down the whole system. that said, people worry about the world trade organization. we can't have tariffs and all that. maybe we can't, but our whole tax system is skewed towards favoring outsourcing and off shoring as opposed to building it here. so there are solutions we can
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undertake. >> thank you. >> i have a question about politics more than policy. i notice you work for politicians. i forgot who the nator was. i have a richer book. judd gregg. so you work for people who stood for office campaigned in the electoral system and the books about policy and the failure of policy seems to me that many people in the room have an example of that agree with your view in my view. about policy. the problem it seems to me isn't the policy, but a way out. and that seems to me the question is politics and leadership. and i don't see leaders out there for these people who agree with these policy problems to coalesce around to find a
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solution. in other words, electoral politics. so you work for republicans, i work for democrats. and i'm wondering if you see any leader out there who might precipitate out these people who share our feelings and a way that might help to get a hold of the policies. but the only way to do that is to get a hold of the electoral system. and you say. do you see anybody? >> not on the horizon. >> i mean, do you see anybody at all? >> now appeared in any case my days of endorsing politicians are over. >> well who in the past would have been appropriate to the moment? >> i like ike. >> it has to go that far back? >> it has to go a ways back. >> already.
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thanks. >> well, first of all, thanks for your 30 years of public service. that's a great effort. we appreciate it. one dimension of the issues you talked about i can well understand and that's how congressional incumbents become captured a special interest. a couple dimensions of the issues you've been discussing really, really do not make sense to me. and i hope you can throw some light on them. one asked why don't congressional candidate who genuinely represent the interests of the people in their constituency gets elected to compete for political office. why is it that we seem to get candidates select at the local level who are already either captured or subject easily to capture a special interest?
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>> because we don't have open primaries. if you have closed primaries, u.k. a very limited number of people voting. they are only the base of the party in these primaries, which are usually at low turnout. and they result in a case where most candidates at the congressional level don't have to worry so much about the congressional election. they just worry about their primary. >> so we need to find a way to open up the system. >> an open primary system like the solution. >> brassica bafflement is why on earth to 50% plus of white american males vote for the four candidates are simply reflecting special interests and not their own? [laughter] >> i was a political hack, not a
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psychologist. [laughter] >> thanks very much. >> how many people have a gun in? >> how many? >> for total. >> we are running out of time, so let's do this for questions. >> i too was a republican before and the civil rights movement sort of knocked me off at coors and became a democrat and a pox on both your houses like yourself. my question has to do with political ideals, which i think, you know, 20 years ago, 40 years ago our deals have remained the same and i'm curious to what the political -- which are political ideals were, what were your republican ideals that she would still hope that somebody would represent besides not being dishonest? >> the interesting thing is that in today's politics, ronald reagan would probably be too
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moderate for the party. he raised taxes i think four times. he pleaded with the congress to pass a clean debt ceiling expansion when something went terribly wrong in lebanon. he didn't say we are going to stay the course. he got out. so it wasn't as polarized than. i was just like to see some politicians who can have strong views. they complete their base and all that, but at the end of the day, they know they have to cut a deal that their responsibility as elected officials is to govern and produce bills. >> thanks. >> so we have a great tax system that is systematically moving money from the middle and lower
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cassis to the upper classes. isn't this exactly the kind of thing the constitution was designed to prevent? so why is networking? >> it is not working because the money that is in politics made it so. that is why k street house all those lobbyists, while the industries beat down the doors of the senate finance committee and house ways and means committee. all those provisions didn't get in there by happenstance. they were put in by and shares that gave campaign contributions and for those contributions they got manifold return. >> so how are you going to get our rights backwards we essentially have lost a lot of, whereas there? how do we get it back?
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>> that is something that you pondering myself. now the supreme court has made an even greater impediment to passing a law that would get the money out of politics, but that does really the only way you can do it. >> so we tend to say how publicly financed system would be much cheaper in the long run because the millions of dollars of halliburton, or for that matter so when her when her mind is given -- and being bipartisan here, came back many times as a hit to the taxpayer if we paid a little bit for a limited campaign season. there is no need for a two-year presidential cycle. would've saved money in in the
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long run. we wouldn't have celinda and halliburton and all the other monstrosities. >> we need to go to the next question. >> hi, following up on the same bipartisan issue here i guess, and returning to the other question you managed and earlier, the worship of marsh. why is it that we don't have a pro-peace party in this country? i think the pathologies of the republican party, especially neoconservatives are fairly well read. but they had a lot of help along the way. you know, the glorious oxymoron of humanitarian work that the democrats seemed fond of in the balkans in libya and now gearing up for serial with republicans of course endorsing it. it seems to there is something very profound work in both parties that, -- on the right or
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the left and the mainstream parties that want to respond to two killing somebody. you know, from your vantage point again to get a republican parties, why is that the democrats in some cases are as bad or worse as the republicans fired when it comes to this sort of thing? >> they tend to say me to boast that they last. that is part of our one and a half party system. it does distressed me, perhaps the rationale or the reason for it is i mean, they all represent elite interests. and when any sort of militarized empire, which is kind of what we've come starts to go down how, starts to have serious problems with its dad, their
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reaction isn't to say, well let's pull back. their reaction is to double down on the very policies that got them into the mass in the first place. it is abnormal psychology but it's the only way i can explain it. >> the ultimate question is why have we gotten in this mess in the last two decades? that's really difficult to answer, but more specifically is what will detect a change in education have been since the 50s there were no longer teach thinking and questioning, but rather just to cement things that are said to us or fax. >> that is a big part of the end i think it is a terrible synergy with the media purchaser to feed out a lot of people. it always struck me as interesting that in the 1880s and 1890s, presumably uneducated farmers had a lot better idea just to the railroad
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interests were and how they were shafting him come out the big eastern banks in hunt of green wholesalers were shut them that a lot of americans don't understand how when the libor is rigged, they are shafted. >> okay, last question. [applause] >> i know is up already, but when the question. on the topic of education, how don't they teach civics anymore? i find that everyone in my generation doesn't understand how the government works and that does a pilot to why people don't vote. just last week i was at a conference that is a model congress and explained how bills
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are passed and really educated me on what i knew and when you elect someone what they are supposed to do. how come they don't teach that in school anymore? >> excellent question. it's the same people that don't understand libor, their kids don't understand the difference between the house and senate and help the bill becomes law. clawback [applause] >> is there a nonfiction author of book you'd like to see featured on booktv?bu, send us an e-mail of booktv at c-span.org. or tweed as at twitter.com/booktv. l> "eminent outlaws" is thethea
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iook. "eminent outlaws: the gay writers who changed america."tho the author joins us on our set at the mall. christopher bram is the author.a christopher braum, what is gay writers?ction and >> writing about gay men andac women with a user theirof somy e experience n in the fiction, fm poetry and plays this kind of you're not pertaining to be somebody youer want about, i wat qualified to include women too. but so many gay and lesbians both are writing from their firsthand experiences you might who are some of the early gay american writers a profile? >> i begin with truman capote, who published their first major books within weeks of each other. i follow that with allen ginsberg, james baldwin, christopher isherwood, tennessee williams was also working at this time too, this is like the first wave, and they caught a
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lot of grief for what they wrote. right after world war ii, homosexuality was illegal in all 48 states. you couldn't talk openly as a gay person. but you could write fiction about it and say i'm not writing about myself, i'm writing about these other people who are fictional. everybody saw through this white lie and understood what was going on. but they caught a little use from critics about it. the critics couldn't say, oh, you're clearly a homosexual, that would've been liable at this time. they found other ways to kind of complaint and attack and criticize. this first-generation caught a lot of great remark so how explicit are open could a james baldwin be or a christian be? >> they were initially very
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open. the second novel, giovanni's room, is about -- it's about two white men in paris, one of the great black american writers. before his second novel, he wrote about his own sexuality, but he transposed it to white men. and it is clear what is going on, he could not write graphics on sex scenes, but there was clear of a bond about this was sexual. they were readers knew that. this would, in his first major book, goodbye to berlin, what later became cabaret, he couldn't write it directly. we know that the main character, the narrator, is a man was fantastic. we don't know his sex life at all. we know about the lives of the people around him, we don't know who he is sleeping with, but years later when we talk about this, we can easily fill in the
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blanks. they were having to use different strategies and tactics to talk about it at a time when it cannot be talked about. but they found ways to do that. >> who are some were some of the contemporary gay writers for this? >> and then white, tony christner, author of angels in america, a wonderful poet, mark dougherty, very politically active, a san francisco writer who wrote tales of the city. these are the living writers that i write about. >> are we post the writers yet? >> good question. not quite yet. i think people would like it to be. it is still a subject that makes most readers uncomfortable. all of these gay characters.
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but people are still uncomfortable about it in books. i'm not sure why. maybe it's a book that's literally in her face. it is a little too unnerving. where it is easier where someone is on the stage or on tv. so it hasn't quite, we are not completely assimilated but maybe that's a good thing. it's good to be a little different to mix things up. and we are still mixing things up. so we still have the writers and we have african american writers, we still have women authors. which is a good thing. people have to acknowledge that even though it is an african-american writer, anybody can read them. they are telling stories that should interest anyone. they need to escape the idea of leaders that only gays would want to read about days or only african-americans who want to read about african-americans. it shouldn't be so.
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we should all want to read each other. we live in is very multicultural polyglot world right now. and we want to get as much information as we can. >> are you a gay writer? >> i am a gay writer. i write primarily novels. i have written my novels. one is the novel that became the movie gods and monsters. the main character, he is a gay man. everybody else around him is perceived that way. it is a gay novel. the gay experience changes things. it changes the balance of things. it is perceived as a gay novel and i really don't mind as long as people will still read it. i think all my novels mixed gay and straight people. they are not writing exclusively for a gay audience. i don't think any gay writer is.
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we want to get give them as many people as we can. we want readers, we love readers. >> 202 is the area code if you'd like to have a question for our guests. 585335 for those of you in the east and central time zones. those of you in the mountain and pacific time zones. i want to ask you about the subtitle. how did these gay writers changed america? >> well, just because they got people talking about homosexuality. as i said, it was illegal in all 48 states. but once he started talking about it, even if you are attacking it, you could start a conversation going. one of the things i discovered is that over this. of 50 years, things change, people could say different things. it was kind of an indirect change of the culture at large. you couldn't talk about it in the movie, there were a few
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villains. you couldn't talk about it in tv at all. but you can talk about it in books. once you started talking about it, it began to spill over into movies and television and became part of the dialogue at large. >> at what point, and perhaps, who are some of the first writers who came out and were openly gay rather than just known to be gay. >> that's a good question. maybe christopher. it is later than we were then. it was in the late 60s, he did a novel called the single man. and he, which is about a gay man was alone, he's grieving for his partner, and it just follows him in one day of his life. there is no sex in it, but this is a gay man. and isherwood would say, this is based on my experience. and he was in it in a way like nobody else. others like tennessee williams
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cannot later, up i should say, allen ginsberg came out. he asked why are you always writing about homosexuality and he would say because i am a homosexual. he actually, i think, was the first, even to the point of who's who who is who in america, he looked at his partner as this is my lover. this is my husband. and i think he really was the first. >> wasn't allen ginsberg arrested for some of his poetry? >> his book, when it was published, it was put on trial or obscenities. ginsberg was on a trip. it was his publisher, lauren sterling get a publisher, lauren sterling getty, a straight man who loves good poetry and got behind this book of poems, who went on trial. and he became national news, the
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late 1955. and it was a book of poetry. because of this trial, because it had gotten major news coverage, newspapers, the book of poetry became a bestseller seller. it was small, but the title point was great. which was, this was just raw and powerful, words and energy, which included gay sexuality in a very matter-of-fact way. they got all this attention, people were reading it and people could talk about the sexuality in a way that they had them before. >> we are talking up with christopher bram. this is the most recent book. is this your first nonfiction? >> yes, estimate of comedy writers who changed america, the first call comes from randy in salsa, oklahoma. >> how are you all doing? >> i have a question about the
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doj five group that was established in the 1970s. a group at the federal level and what effect it had on national security are you the fellow that was on turkey mountain? by the way, you can google this, she is the sister of a whistleblower who has been exposed to some of the activities with janet reno and so forth to when you are talking about the doj project, you are talking about the department of justice, right? >> guest: i'm not sure. >> host: peter, we will move on
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to you. >> caller: we are now enjoying the coolness in charleston, for a change. >> i just turned the tv on, so i may have missed. you might have covered this already, please excuse the question if it has already been answered. i have always loved walt whitman. i just love his work. especially in april when lilacs last by the dooryard balloon. and i always loved the canadian writer, i believe her name was katherine. she wrote creation. her writing is beautiful. i understand and he knows and understands. but in a way, who cares. i love her writing. >> let's go to the walt whitman park.
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>> the book starts covering writers only after world war ii. whitman is a great one who published things in the 1850s, he included the calamus forums, which are between men. it was very exciting and different and gay men and women would refer to these forums is that somebody was finally writing about me telling my story. i talk about the only briefly in my book because i'm talking about world war ii. but what lynn was a major breakthrough. an interesting thing about whitman as he did not want to be identified as gay. once he became famous, he was insisting that he would get letters from men in same sex relationships.
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and that would be like oh, no, that's not what i'm talking about. he did not want to give up his celebrity to be a spokesman for a small minority group. he was very nervous about that. it was kind of sad. the same things that we saw happening later with the early generation of american writers. it was hard to come out. it was hard to let your desires we don't. >> i don't know if this is a topic you all are familiar with, but was walt whitman known to be gay around a wider circle? >> .around a wider circle. he got in trouble for writing about prostitutes, and writing about the human body. and it was like oh, what is this subject he is dealing with. emily dickens said that i've heard he is insane. it wasn't a homosexuality to boddicker, it was the sexuality. >> where did you grow up? >> in norfolk virginia and virginia beach virgi

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